Members of Triana de Aguascalientes. Photography by Devin Doyle, all photos access via……

The extravagant apparel and ornate patterns catch the eye. But the incredible horsemanship and skill cement escaramuzas as the most intricate, dashing cowgirls on the planet. The sport combines beauty, history and horsemanship into a dazzling display of artistry and athleticism.

Charrería is the national sport of Mexico. It is a rodeo-like event where charros compete horseback in events to show their horsemanship skills. Although becoming widespread with the development of large cities, Charrería finds its roots in the countryside of Mexico. Charros and horseman competed and practiced charrería as a homage to their heritage.

Similar to its American counterpart, charrería is also a male dominated sport. And similar to American cowgirls, Mexican women are just as skilled of horsemen and have subsequently found avenues all their own. Enter the traditional sport of escaramuza.

Escaramuza, simply put, is a collection of eight side saddling women completing difficult patterns in team synchronicity. The competition consists of 12 moves, judged on speed, synchronization and exact execution.  Similarly to the male charros, escaramuzas show their horsemanship and riding prowess through proper training, complex tricks and unblemished execution of their patterns. 

For as detailed as the horsemanship is, the baroque apparel adoring the women is what catches an eye from the moment the eight horses step hooves in the arena. The costumes, like the entire sport, find their roots in history. The Adelita dresses are based on those worn during the revolution, intricately styled for each team. The costumes are always in traditional colors and embroideries are always hand sewn. The sombreros worn by every escaramuza are equally flamboyant and each is unique to the dress.

For more information and to learn more about the Arizona-based team, Escaramuza Charra Rayenari, check out BESE’s video: